Preserving your vision, part 1

While lenses and apertures are discussed in photographic circles routinely, they mainly refer to camera not body parts. Lately I have been thinking about how my photography will change as I age, particularly if my vision worsens. I wonder about what my prolonged staring at computer screens may do to my eyes and have been reading about “Computer Vision Syndrome”. As a physician I have seen the effects of visual loss in my patients. Have you had to change the font size or brightness, contrast on your computer? Are colors not as vibrant? Are faces not as sharp? All of these may be early signs of Macular Degeneration which is the leading cause of blindness over the age of 50. I hope you will find the following recommendations helpful in preserving your eye health

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 sec to reduce eye strain. Reduce Computer use if possible to <2 hours at a time. Also blink frequently or consider lubricating eye drops.
  • Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS: no, not the pharmacy) is the name given to eye problems, strain and pain due to prolonged computer use. The highest risk is in those who spend 2+ hours of continuous computer time per day. In general the difficulties are due to the inability of the eyes to continually refocus in a coordinated fashion as well as glare and dry eyes.
  • Use Sunglasses to reduce UV exposure. Yes this is annoying while shooting and the polarization can affect how we see the scene but wearing them can help prevent macular degeneration and about 20% of cataracts are caused by excessive UV exposure.